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Cultural Competency Program


The imperative need for Cultural Competency has been well defined and established by State and Federal legislative mandates. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Department of Health and Human Services regulations require all recipients of federal funding from HHS to provide meaningful access to LEPs at no cost to them [45 CFR § 80.3(b)(2).

Program Objectives

To identify and put into practice the cultural knowledge and awareness for effectively working with and treating patients of different cultures, religions and languages.

This program is designed to develop and enhance the awareness of cultural differences and needs of patients by health care providers. Each program is tailored to the client's community diversity profiles. Once this is determined, the course will emphasize the cultures covered by the client's facilities.

Program Outline

A patient's culture and religion often shape what constitutes to them an acceptable form of treatment and interaction with their health care providers.

Some examples are:

Eye contact. In some cultures, eye contact is considered aggressive or hostile. An ill-informed health care provider may consider lack of eye contact as being evasive.

"Do you understand?" While this may seem to be a harmless question, in many cultures it represents questioning of that person's intellectual ability to understand. So the health care provider may get a nod in response. The provider with cultural knowledge will be able to determine whether the patient did in fact understand.

Religion, Feng shui and Chinese medical beliefs.

The Chinese religions are predominantly Bhuddism, Taosim, Confucianism, and Islam. Central to many of the Chinese religions is a strong belief in feng shui. These two words mean wind and water. It is based on the idea that man and nature have to co-exist in harmony. Hills represent dragons. A hospital located at a spot that is considered the eye of the dragon would obviously irritate the dragon, and be potentially dangerous.

The positioning of a bed can make an important impact on a Chinese patient.

Closely linked to feng shui is herbal medicine. To dismiss its efficacy can alienate the patient's trust in the medicinal knowledge of the care provider. The Chinese are accustomed to using homeopathic cures alongside western-style medicines. Knowing that, the provider understands that the patient will probably use herbal medicine once they are at home and can help advise which herbal medicines can or cannot be used alongside the prescribed medication. The worst thing is to ignore it all together.


  • Understanding the role that traditions and health beliefs play in a patient's behavior.
  • Understanding and appreciating different cultural viewpoints.
  • Understanding the differences between medical cultures.
  • Being able to discuss and address a patient's perception of health beliefs, disbeliefs and fears.


The program's success lies in the interactive "hands on approach." The workshop leaders are joined with natives to the cultures being addressed. After each lecture, participants will take part in role playing simulating real life situations that they will be involved in. This will be followed by a constructive critique.


  • At your facilities
  • At our Marin County Center

Schedules: Please request a schedule.

Choice of programs:

Limited to your staff only. Minimum of 5 participants.

Open enrollment: No minimum of participants. Seminars will have attendees from various facilities.


In general, health care providers have the best of intentions to deliver professional and competent care to patients of all cultures. This program removes pre-conceived notions leading to unintentional disparity of care and delivers the self awareness, knowledge and cultural skills to achieve a high level of excellence in health care.

Contact Us

International Effectiveness Centers
Phone: (800) 292-9246

Corte Madera
21 Tamal Vista Boulevard
Suite 234
Corte Madera, CA 94925

San Francisco
235 Montgomery Street
Suite 1155
San Francisco, CA 94104

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